ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Treat Poison Ivy Symptoms

Updated on September 30, 2012

Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is not a true ivy by nature. This shrub or vine is grown in North America and Canada and produces a clear sap known as ’Urushiol’. It is the Urushiol oil that when in contact with your skin causes the itching and painful rash.

Some facts about poison ivy:

  • Poison Ivy grows either as a shrub, trailing or climbing vine and is recognised by it’s 3 almond shaped leaves.
  • The allergic reaction caused upon contact with poison ivy is named ‘urushiol-induced contact dermatitis’. In very cases it may causes anaphylaxis ( a life threatening condition).
  • Around 350,000 people in the U.S are affected by poison ivy every year.
  • Not everyone who comes in contact with poison ivy reacts to the urushiol and its believed that 15-30% of people do not have a reaction.
  • Within 12 – 72hours of contact with poison ivy the individual may expect to experience the signs of a rash. These include red inflamed bumps of the skin often in a line or streaks, vesicles and blisters filled with fluid may also be present.
  • The rash is very itchy but cannot be spread by scratching. It may indicate some areas received more poison and reacted at a different rate to others.
  • The rash may last between 1 – 4 weeks depending on the severity of the case. In rare circumstances hospitalization may be required.

Poison Ivy Treatment

Most contacts with poison ivy can be treated at home. However if you experience any of the following symptoms you need to contact your doctor.

  • Difficulty breathing
  • The rash covers most of your body
  • Swelling – especially if the swelling is on your face or causes your eyelid to swell and shut
  • The rash is on your face or genitals
  • Nothing eases the rash or most of your skin itches.

The American Academy of Dermatology suggest some poison ivy treatments that may alleviate the itching and painful rash.

  • Rinse the skin as soon as possible with lukewarm water (within 10 minutes if possible)
  • Wash in an Oatmeal bath – short lukewarm baths – you can buy the oatmeal preparations from most drugstores.
  • Or wash in a bath of Baking Soda – add 1 cup of Baking Soda to the lukewarm running water.
  • Cool Showers
  • Cold compresses – soak a face flannel in ice cold water and apply to area.
  • Anti- histamine pills – NOT anti-histamine cream as this may make the rash worse.
  • Only apply hydro-cortisone cream to very mild cases.


  • Be able to identify poison ivy and steer clear where possible.
  • Wear Ivy block barrier ( can buy over-the-counter)
  • Wear protective clothing, long sleeves, long pants, boots and gloves – even if wearing a ivy block barrier
  • Wash all clothes, tools and pets that have come into contact with poison ivy. The oil can remain active for long periods of time
  • Do not burn poison ivy the fumes can cause a nasty allergic reaction.

Other poison ivy treatment that may help:

· Atarax (hydroxyzine, a prescription oral antihistamine)

· Aveeno Anti-Itch Cream with Natural Colloidal Oatmeal

· Band-Aid Anti-Itch Gel

· Caladryl Clear Topical Analgesic Skin Lotion

· Calamine Lotion

· Cortizone 10 (OTC topical steroid)

· Domeboro Astringent Solution Powder Packets

· Gold Bond Maximum Strength Medicated Anti-Itch Cream

· Itch-X Anti-Itch Gel with Soothing Aloe Vera

· Burts's Bees Poison Ivy Soap

· Cortaid Poison Ivy Care Treatment Kit

· Ivarest Medicated Cream

· IvyStat

· Tecnu Extreme Poison Ivy Scrub

· Zanfel Wash For Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac


Note: The guide is not meant to be fully comprehensive and is meant for information only. The author makes no guarantee, either expressed or implied, regarding the efficacy or use for any reason of the information contained within this article.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)